Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MENDEZ FIRST PLAYER TAKEN IN LIGA DISPERSAL DRAFT

First baseman Francisco "Chipper" Mendez (pictured) was the first player selected in Tuesday’s Mexican League draft held for dispersal of players from the Chihuahua Dorados and Nuevo Laredo Tecolotes after the LMB suspended operations for both teams in 2011.

Mendez, who batted .338 with 19 homers and 88 RBIs for Chihuahua last year, was plucked by the Veracruz Rojos Aguilas although his rights had already been returned to Monterrey after four years on loan to the Dorados. Taken second was pitcher Ramon Garcia, who moves from the Dorados to the Laguna Vaqueros. Garcia was 9-5 with a 4.68 ERA for Chihuahua.

In all, 20 players were distributed around the Liga from the Chihuahua roster while the rights to seven Nuevo Laredo players changed hands over four rounds of selections. Neither Reynosa nor Mexico City took a single player in the draft, leaving the pickings to the remaining 12 LMB franchises. Laguna ended up drafting four players. One surprising pick was pitcher Travis Blackley, whose rights were taken by Quintana Roo in the second round despite his signing with Korea’s Kia Tigers for 2011 last month.

Chihuahua requested off the LMB rostrum this year to allow for ballpark renovations in Leon ahead of a franchise shift there, while Nuevo Laredo was dropped for not revealing the team’s financial structure to the Liga.